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Newsletter Number 14 • December 6, 2005


I am trying to get an early start on our holiday season, so I am composing this on Friday November 25. I am watching CNBC which is focused on the most important retailing day of the year, the Friday after Thanksgiving, which in the retail trade is known as “Black Friday”, not because of any malevolent connotations, but because for many retailers this is the day when they become profitable for the year, or “move into the Black.” At 21st Century Books we have not made it into the black and probably won’t achieve that goal this year.

It is a tough business competing with Amazon, and having a very limited local population from which to draw. We are extremely gratified by the response from many Fairfielders who continue to support us, understanding and appreciating that we cannot maintain a physical location and meet the prices of Amazon. We would like to encourage continued support by all who find useful our knowledge, insights, and abilities to discover and review books that can make a difference in your life. We need your support and patronage if we are to keep this venerable Fairfield bookstore open.

This month I have read three books which I most highly recommend.

First, is India: Mirror of Truth, A Seven Year Pilgrimage, by Steve Briggs. Steve, who lives in Fairfield, was a member of Purusha (an American monk) sent by his guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, to India to teach meditation. Steve made the most of this unique opportunity, traveling all over India, visiting many of the most holy places, temples, saints, shamans, politicians, pundits, swami’s, astrologers, and even humble folk. This is an incredibly fascinating memoir, both personal and universal. While I doubt this book will ever gain the stature of Autobiography of a Yogi, (Yogananda) or A Search In Secret India, (Paul Brunton) two of my favorite books of all time, I would rank Briggs’ book right up there and in the same lineage. Briggs catches the soul of India. The book is well-written and truly a joy to read. The author’s experiences and insights are both memorable and enlightening. Everyone who is a meditator, spiritual seeker, or an adventurer at heart must read this book. For those of you in our local community, Steve will give a free lecture, answer questions, and do a book signing at The Fairfield Public Library on Monday December 19th at 8:00 pm. We hope to see you there!

The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles, by Bruce Lipton, PhD, is one of those very special books that might significantly change the way one looks at life, the mind, biology, and even evolution. This is not just another “me too” science or biology book. The personal style of narrative makes this very readable and enjoyable. Lipton is a highly credible source, having been a professor at leading medical schools (including Stanford) and having done primary research and having been published in peer-reviewed journals. Lipton unveils startling new scientific discoveries which call into question the way western science has viewed the nature of the cell, the brain, the mind and consciousness. This book and its knowledge and insights are destined to become very significant for anyone who chooses to read it. Lipton has made this personal, describing his own unfolding as he made these important discoveries, which makes his book fun to read and one of those books you hate to put down once you have started to read it.

As many of you who read this know, most of my career has been spent in the stock market, and I continue to be active in speculations involving many markets. There have been a number of books I have read over the years which I believe have contributed significantly to my understanding and success. Just One Thing, John Mauldin, Editor is, in my opinion, a modern gem that every speculator or investor absolutely must read. Mauldin had a brilliant idea and perfectly executed it in putting together this book. He has had twelve of the world’s best investment thinkers and/or most successful investors each write a single chapter based on the “one thing” that each one thinks is the single most important thing in achieving success. Because each investor has a different approach or style, the result is a well-rounded treasure of wisdom that a reader like me will go back and read over and over again. While I can’t say that every single chapter was something I deeply resonated with, I will say that some of these chapters are so good and so important that I feel like having read this, I am a “born again” speculator, chomping at the bit to use my new knowledge and attitude to play the investment game. I recommend this book to everyone, without any hesitation or caveats. It is a “must read.”

Books make great presents. Come into our store or browse through our website for ideas. One book I think almost everybody would love to receive for a present is Treasury of Spiritual Wisdom. This is a compilation of 10,000 inspirational quotations compiled by Andy Zuko. It is a book that just keeps giving. I don’t know how one man could have compiled such a wonderful collection. It is a book to keep on one’s desk, by the bedside, or perhaps even the john. One can read it through and through, browse by subject, or just open pages at random. It will uplift and inspire, and what could be a better or more lasting gift than upliftment and inspiration.

It is my pleasure to wish everyone a joyous holiday season, and a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2006.

Len Oppenheim

December can be the best of times or the worst of times.

To help give balance to this month I would highly recommend the new book by Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose either for yourself or as a gift for a loved one... This is Eckhart’s first full length title since The Power of Now. Tolle’s words help bring a feeling of deep peace to a seemingly insane world… just reading a paragraph or two helps shut out the noise of the relative world.

I have just finished reading: Jarhead an account of the first Iraq war. This is a powerful book on war and the military... the writing is almost brutal spiritual poetry. This is an anti war book written by a marine sharpshooter. It would make an excellent gift for anyone who is interested in seeing the reality of what war does to a person’s soul... this is one person’s truth without the political/mass media filter.

We have just received in by local author Robert Fitzgerald: SIGNS OF THE TIMES: The End of the World and the Coming Golden Age.

The author presents a fascinating account of how time and history follow an astrological structure. This structure consists of astrological ages that are chronicled from before the Age of Cancer, and the invention of agriculture around the world, to the present end of the Age of Pices, and the much-prophesied apocalyptic end of the world.

Within this pattern an end-time cycle emerges that explains the Apocalyptic energies we see around us today, Astrology also promises , in the coming Age of Aquarius , a new golden age and gives us indications of what needs to be done to survive the end-time.

One last thing before I merge into your background. For any lover of Rumi’s poetry: A New Illuminated Rumi ONE SONG has just recently been published. It is a beautiful hardcover gift book filled with beautiful poetry, incredible visuals and a bonus CD that puts Rumi’s poetry to the music of Bluegrass, Gospel and Blues.

Have a joyful December; my wish being that the sensuous noise of this season is offset by the eternal stillness within you


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